LAW enforcers arresting freed prisoners who availed of the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) could be held criminally liable, a veteran legislator said.
Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, of Cagayan De Oro City, said that the prisoners who have availed of the GCTA were released on the presumption that they were no longer deprived of their liberty.
He said that while President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered all the prisoners to return to prison for a prescribed period, the President’s order did not negate the fact that the prisoners were already released.
Duterte issued an order for all prisoners who availed of the GCTA provisions retroactive 2014 to return to prison pending final review of the documentation or face arrest.
Rodriguez said that the police or law enforcers must secure a warrant of arrest before they could arrest the freed prisoner.
“The police must file a petition to grant warrants of arrest on the person subject of an arrest in the court where the person was sentenced to serve prison,” Rodriguez said.
Without a warrant of arrest, the police could face illegal arrest and arbitrary detention, Rodriguez said in an interview with the Mindanao Daily News.
Alan Iral, the head of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), said that 58,000 prisoners facing minor offenses, part of the 22,000 were convicts while 1,914 convicted for heinous crimes. were released since 2014.
Rodriguez, the co-author of Republic Act 10592, which amended the Penal Code on prisoners, said that the law was approved in 2013.
In 2014, former Justice Secretary Lilah Delima and Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas issued the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of RA 10295, which included the GCTA provisions.
The BJMP officials said that the GCTA was intended to decongest the jail of prisoners throughout the country.
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